As I reach the end of my time in Los Angeles, it seems natural to go back and think about everything that has happened, and all of the opportunities I have been afforded. Moving to L.A. and going to USC all seemed like dreams just beyond my reach, and I am so thankful to everyone that pushed me along during this very important time in my career. I'll never forget the important bassoon pieces I've been a part of here and gotten to perform with various orchestras, including the Rite of Spring, Shostakovich 9, Firebird, and others, but what I've learned about myself is, what I think, is most important and valuable.
It started with the drive across the country to reach California. Andy and I really got to put into perspective how big our country is, and how there is always something more to see or learn about the place you live. From the forests of Arkansas, to the deserts of Arizona, our landscape offers much to see and experience, and I can make you feel pretty small in the grand scheme of things. After arriving and having to drop Andy off at the airport to return home, it snapped into focus how much I loved him. For the first time in my life I felt completely alone, and had to deal with it. Of course I made plenty of friends along the way that I'll be in touch with forever, but being in a new place to fend for yourself will make you appreciate what you had in your former environment - remember this if you're planning to move away!
On a more musical side, my career goals and ambitions changed drastically as well. I never thought I'd be a performer as much as I saw myself as a teacher. One great thing about USC is that the faculty really pushes you to your full potential, so per the recommendation of a faculty member here, I took an audition after being in Los Angeles a little over a week or two. After winning this spot in the American Youth Symphony, being an orchestral musician really came into focus, and it pushed me toward taking more auditions and being offered positions, including the Shen Yun Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony. Sitting on stage and performing has quickly become something I'd love to do for the rest of my life. Don't get me wrong, I love the impact I make on students, but performing is now where I see myself, that is, until I can be the president of a university. :-)
In classical music, an elision is defined as a point in music that serves as the end of one phrase while also serving as the beginning of the next. This time in my life, to me, is like an elision. Being a student at USC, principal bassoon of the American Youth Symphony, and an active freelance musician in Los Angeles is over, but a new chapter is beginning. Post-collegiate life is a chapter in itself, and that coupled with the opportunities that lie ahead of me begin my next "musical phrase". What's really important to me has become clear, and my long-term goals are in the horizon - I'm looking forward to reaching them. Put yourself in a situation to really learn more about yourself, as I have learned about myself.
I couldn't think of a good image to go along with this blog post, so instead just look at my new car!
For my final term paper dealing with Beethoven, I chose to write about black people of status in the social in musical scene around the same time as Beethoven, specifically his relationship with one black musician to whom one of his violin sonatas was dedicated, initially. If you're interested, take a look at my draft, which is attached below: